Published: Dec 05, 2013 5:31 PM EST
Updated: Dec 06, 2013 1:00 PM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Karey Lee Woolsey sings one of those sons that truly comes from the heart. His CD A Million Miles Away, released this past summer, hit number four on the Billboard Independent Chart.

Remarkable under any circumstance but this is different. Because Woolsey is serving more than a decade in federal prison.

"If I miss my brother, I'll slip in one of his CDs. It helps me," said Kodey Woolsey, who stands in for his brother on the music video "walls around me."

The 37-year-old Karey has been a fixture of the southwest Florida music scene for more than a decade. He toured with acts like Sister Hazel, Lenny Kravits and Jars of Clay.

"When I think of my brother, I think he's one of the best musicians I know," Kodey said.

"I promised myself when I came to prison that I wouldn't waste a single day," said Karey Lee who is currently serving at the low security federal prison in Yazoo City, MS.

"I've messed up and I've learned from my mistakes. I plan on getting out of prison 10 times the man I was when I came in."

What put him behind bars is a story also worthy of a song.

In early 2007 Woolsey received a phone call from an ex-girlfriend. She had been ordered to appear in front of a federal grand jury. Karey Lee asked to meet with her. He didn't know she was wearing a wire.

"You can't say I did anything wrong," Woolsey told her according to federal court transcript. "You are not going to lie, just tell them you didn't know."

When Karey was making his way up the music ladder he started selling marijuana. A lot of it. Investigators say he was involved with one of the largest marijuana distribution networks in Florida.

But those investigators never found any pot on Karey. They didn't need to. Federal sentencing guidelines only require other people to say they bought marijuana from Karey Lee.

He was charged with conspiracy to distribute more than a thousand kilos of marijuana.

He was facing life in prison.

"It didn't matter that I was a non-violent first time offender, none of that mattered," Karey said, "a life-sentence for marijuana doesn't make since I don't care who you are."

Hoping for leniency, Karey Lee pleaded guilty. That leniency didn't come, he was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in federal prison.

While speaking with Karey I asked him what he would say to people who believe he got what he deserved.

"That's fair for them to think that. But wouldn't those same people have said the same thing if I would have gotten say five years," Karey said.

He's set to be released in July of 2019. He'll be 43 years old.

"I'm not proud of myself or my past. But I am proud of who I've became."